Sturgeon does not speak for Scotland, says Davidson

The Scottish Tory leader addressed her party's conference in Birmingham before the Prime Minister.

Ruth Davidson: Scottish Conservative leader used her speech to attack the SNP. <strong>PA</strong>
Ruth Davidson: Scottish Conservative leader used her speech to attack the SNP. PA

Nicola Sturgeon “does not speak for the country” by putting a second independence referendum on the table, Ruth Davidson has claimed.

The Scottish Conservative leader urged delegates at the party’s conference in Birmingham not to believe the SNP that Scottish independence is “inevitable.”

The Edinburgh Central MSP gave her address before the Prime Minister’s closing speech at the party conference on Wednesday.

The SNP have hit back, however, accusing Davidson of “putting party before country” by apologising for the Conservatives’ Brexit agenda.

Davidson told conference delegates: “I am aware how Scottish politics can sometimes look.

“You see Nicola Sturgeon on the TV most weeks telling you how Scotland is up in arms – again.

“Threatening break-up; asserting independence is closer now than ever before, declaring separation is somehow inevitable.

“Today, speaking to people here across the UK, I want to make this clear.

“Don’t believe a word of it. There is nothing inevitable about the break-up of this great nation and I for one will fight it every inch and so will thousands with me.

“The SNP doesn’t speak for all of Scotland. And nor does it have the right to.”

She continued: “So, next time you see Nicola Sturgeon picking a fight, or trying to claim the United Kingdom is over, remember, she does not speak for the country.

“And, when she threatens to put yet another divisive referendum back on the table, the nation is not behind her. She’s not speaking for the majority.

“Because the majority of us want to move on. The majority have no wish to return to the divisions of the past – we want to seize the opportunities of the future.”

Davidson also used her conference address to tell immigrants that Britain is “your home and you are welcome here”.

Her comments come a day after the Home Secretary Amber Rudd was criticised over plans she unveiled which could lead to companies having to list what proportion of their workforce are British.

Davidson, who supported Remain during the EU referendum, said the “prize” will justify the “journey” which the country is about to embark on during Brexit negotiations.

The SNP said the Conservatives’ approach to Brexit is “bizarre”.

A spokesman said: “Ruth Davidson is putting party before country, by being an apologist for the hardline Brexiteers now running the Tory party instead of standing up for Scotland – and the people of Scotland will not forgive her for doing so.

“Every part of Scotland voted to remain in Europe and yet the Tories – with just one MP out of 59 in Scotland – want to drag us out of the EU against our will. It is the starkest possible demonstration of the democratic deficit.”

He added: “Tory attempts to shut down debate, with Theresa May and Ruth Davidson going out of their way to say Scotland’s voice and interests don’t matter, signal an utterly bizarre approach from a party who claim they want to keep the UK together.

“Nicola Sturgeon was elected First Minister and so has every right to speak for Scotland in negotiating a secure future for our country in the wake of the Tories’ Brexit shambles.”

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